Here’s a land deal almost anyone would envy: swap your one-acre North Carolina homestead for $1.7 million. That’s the price Apple reportedly paid to relocate Donnie and Kathy Fulbright’s home away from the Cupertino, Calif. company’s $1 billion data center. The real estate transaction was like the proverbial blank check. “They told us to put a price on it and we did,” Kathy Fulbright said.
To put the numbers in perspective, the Fulbright’s paid just $6,000 for the one acre 30 years ago and Apple likely paid as little as $35,000 per acre for other land needed for the data center. Apple says it plans to begin using the center by year’s end. However, as Apple’s iEmpire stretches its present resources, the arrangement may have purchased more peace-of-mind.
“Apple’s growth has been pretty dramatic and they have probably exceeded their capacity,” according to Gartner. Between iTunes and a potential video store, “you’re talking about massive amounts of data and millions of people trying to access that at the same time.”
In order to land Apple, local North Carolina officials offered numerous tax breaks. Along with an 85 percent cut in individual property taxes, Apple received a 50 percent cut in real property taxes. For that, Apple is expected to deliver 50 direct jobs, 250 ancillary jobs and up to 3,000 other positions. Catawba, NC officials also required the Cupertino, Calif. firm to site the data center in an “economically-distressed area” with 12.3 percent unemployment, compared to 9.7 percent for the entire state.
In September, Apple streamed its quarterly financial report to test the facility’s ability for a future version of iTunes for iOS devices.